The facade of the library at the ancient city of Ephesus, Turkey
Turkey is off the menu for Cunard Line and P&O Cruises. All cruise ship visits to Istanbul and other Turkish ports during 2017 have been cancelled and alternative destinations in Greece and Albania will be substituted.
A spokeswoman said that although the companies accepted some guests would be disappointed, the decision had taken into account advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
During 2016 Turkey – which borders Syria – has suffered a number of terrorist attacks, including one at Istanbul airport that resulted in 26 deaths. The country also had a failed military coup in July.
Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 at Southampton following her £90million refit
For P&O the changes largely affect fly-cruises on board Oceana which will be based in Malta during next summer.
Passengers missing out on visits to Ephesus may be consoled with the alternative call at Sarande, Albania, from where there will be excursions to the UNESCO-listed Greek and Roman remains of Butrint. From Katakolon in Greece, they will be able to visit Olympia.
The Cunard itineraries affected are mostly fly-cruises on Queen Victoria, and there is one 17-night voyage on Queen Victoria from Southampton which will not now be visiting Ephesus.
Crystal Cruises, Disney Cruise Line and MSC Cruises (who had a ship in Tunis when 20 tourists were killed in a terrorist attack in 2015) have also cancelled all visits to Turkey.
Cuba opens up to US-based lines
Cuba libre at last! Within days of the death of Fidel Castro , long-awaited permission has been given this week for US-based cruise lines to visit the island.
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings got the green light for all three of its brands: Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises.
The cathedral square in Havana’s historic old city
Oceania’s Marina will be the first to sail, from PortMiami, on March 7. Regent’s Seven Seas Mariner will call on Havana in April during two cruises. Norwegian Sky is to offer a selection of four-day cruises to Havana from May.
Royal Caribbean International plans to offer multiple itineraries from Florida to Havana on Empress of the Seas. Azamara Club Cruises was also given approval.
Some might stay on board…
Saga Holidays take delight each year on reminding us which celebrities will soon reach the magic age of 50 and therefore qualify to cruise on their two ships, Saga Sapphire and Saga Pearl II .
They might even be able to persuade John Barrowman (March 11) and Davina McCall (October 16) to join them at sea. And it would be fun to see Boris Becker (November 22) practising his serve with Pamela Anderson (July 1).
But I wouldn’t put money on Noel Gallagher (May 29) signing up for a Saga cruise anytime soon. Even if he did, there would be a rush of passengers cancelling their own bookings. Definitely Maybe.
Will we see Noel Gallagher on a Saga cruise?